By: Jennifer P. Rendon and Felipe V. Celino
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is in Capiz province today, Sept 19, 2019, for the decommissioning of hundreds of members of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawà Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).
The 727 RPMP-RPA-ABB are members of the Tabara-Paduano Group, a faction of the ABB led by Arturo Tabara and Stephen Paduano.
Paduano, who also goes by the name Carapali Lualhati, is now the representative of Abang Lingkod Party list.
The Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, home of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), will host the historic event as far as the government’s anti-insurgency campaign is concerned.
Aside from the RPMP-RPA-ABB decommissioning, Duterte will also witness the ceremonial demilitarization of the 337 turned-over firearms by the KAPATIRAN.
To receive the President are Paduano; Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., chief of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU); Usec. Cesar Yano, co-chairperson of the Joint Enforcement Monitoring Committee (JEMC);
Governor Esteban Evan Contreras of Capiz; and Mrs. Veronica Tabara, co-chairperson PD the JEMC and Kapatiran para sa Progresong Panlipunan (KAPATIRAN).
LOCALIZED PEACE TALKS
The 3rd ID hierarchy believed that the gains in their anti-insurgency campaign were a result of localized peace talks.
“The decommissioning of hundreds of RPA-ABB members is a classic example that localized peace talks is better than centralized peace negotiations,” said Captain Cenon Pancito III, 3rd ID spokesperson.
The event, he added, is a breakthrough in the government’s peace campaign that manifests its sincerity of helping those who took the wrong path but chose to go back to the fold of the law.
Pancito added that OPAPRU will provide P580 million worth of livelihood and special protection assistance as part of its efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace.
These assistance packages include social protection programs, capacity development, livelihood and employment assistance, housing assistance and financial to former combatants.
Meanwhile,Major General Dinoh Dolina, 3ID commander, said the bold move of the RPA-ABB to make true to its promise to surrender their firearms and took full allegiance with the government is a step in attaining just and lasting peace in Negros and Panay Island.
TRAINING FOR REBELS
As part of their decommissioning process, these former rebels will be in the 3ID headquarters for two months to undergo training that shall confirm with the military standard.
They will be given issued firearms to become Special Civilian Active as another component in the peace and security operations in their respective localities.
Pancito said they would still be under the command of the Army’s CAFGU Battalion.
The Revolutionary Proletarian Army was the military wing of the Rebolusyonaryong Parrish Manggagawa ng Pilipinas, a communist party that split from Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The RPA-ABB, currently known as Kapatiran, signed a peace agreement with the government in 2000.
“Though it took almost two decades for it to be realized, finally, it’s been proven that peace is not just an elusive dream but an achievable vision which can be attained through localized peace talks,” Pancito said.
Decommissioning is one of the five components of Clarificatory Implementing Document (CID) to the 2000 Peace Agreement, formulated in consultation with the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade and Kapatiran para sa Progresibong Lipunan (RPMP/RPA/ABB-TPG/KAPATIRAN). The CID was agreed by various national government agencies.
KAPATIRAN is composed of members of the former rebel group which separated from the CPP-NPA in 1996 after denouncing Jose Maria Sison’s violent and bloody ideology. The group entered peace negotiations in 1999 and signed a peace agreement in 2000.
On March 26, a dialogue with the group was initiated by 3ID, in the presence of Galvez, where the members of the group committed to fulfill the components of the CID specifically the disposition of firearms and forces.
During the dialogue, Veronica Tabara ensured the full transformation of her members and gave assurance to continue to help the people and the government in attaining genuine peace in their communities.